Get to Know HGR’s Ludie Toles

HGR's Ludie Toles
(l to r) Susan and Ludie

What is your job title?

I am a marketing administrator.

What are your job responsibilities on a day-to-day basis?

I call on manufacturing companies to talk to them about HGR buying their surplus equipment. If they have surplus, I then enter the information I gathered into our customer relationship management (CRM) system as a lead and set an appointment for the buyer to view the equipment and put in a bid if we are interested.

What qualifications are needed to succeed in your role?

It is a must to have good phone etiquette, as well as computer skills and great customer service skills. We have about 5 seconds to build a rapport with the receptionist or administrative assistant, which is so important as they hold the power as a gatekeeper to the people with whom we need to speak.

What background or prior work experiences do you bring to the table?

For the most part of 30 years of my life, I was in the “people” business. I worked in ministry and nonprofit organizations throughout the U.S., Mexico, Europe and Africa. The people skills I learned while working with many different cultures have been invaluable in my work life. I worked at a call center for two years before I came to HGR, which gave me the phone and computer skills I needed to slip right into my job.

How long have you been with HGR, and why?

It has been 2 1/2 years since joining the HGR team, and I absolutely love it! I was looking for a company with longevity and a moral compass and feel like I have found it.

What amazing things are you doing in your personal life?

One of my passions is landscaping, which I did on a professional level at one point. My wife, Susan, and I work year round on our yard with great satisfaction. I am also an avid “Rock Hound.” I go rock and crystal hunting, as well as collecting, cutting and polishing them. I have recently been elected to serve as a board member for the Austin Gem & Mineral Society which has been a 501(c)(3) for 60 years. I count it a great honor to be a part of this organization!

What can you tell us about your family?

Both of my parents are deceased, and I am the youngest of five children (and I’m old). My two sisters and two brothers live in Colorado, Montana and Texas. I have been blessed with a wonderful companion, and we have been together for 13 years. Susan has two grown daughters that we enjoy when we are able to get together. We also have two sweet Poodles that we love dearly — Tilly & Macy.

What is the most important thing in the world to you/what matters most?

My wife, Susan, is the greatest treasure that I have been blessed with. While I traveled for so many years, I had accepted I would be single for the rest of my life, which was fine in my line of work.  So, what a great gift when Susan walked into my life. I cherish every day with her and love when we are able to spend time with our family and friends who are like family.

HGR Industrial Surplus' Ludie Toles poodles

Thoughts from Justin: Interview with a woman business owner

Brianna Michaels

(Courtesy of Guest Blogger, Justin Mobilian, HGR’s sales & marketing summer intern)

What’s it like being a female entrepreneur? The media tends to focus on men, whether it be sports, jobs, entertainment, you name it. But what about women? They’re equally as important and successful. That’s why I decided to interview a local entrepreneur to tell us what it’s like to be a woman business owner.

Take Brianna Michaels. She’s a 21-year-old business owner. I’m 23 and can’t imagine having the responsibility or patience to own my own company. Her company? Fairlawn Medina Landscape Supply.

Tell me about your business. What exactly do you do?

My company is a landscape supply and design store. We sell all types of bulk materials, such as top soil, mulch, gravel, and limestone. We have other products, such as grass seed, fertilizer, straw, tools, PVC pipe, low-voltage lighting, and much more. I also employ an architect who meets with my customers to help with designing their home projects.

When did you start your company?

I started the company in February 2015 in Akron, Ohio; however, just this past April I opened another location in Medina, Ohio.

How did you get into this type of business?

It started with my father. He started his own landscaping/construction company 34 years ago; so, I grew up working by his side. From the day I began working with him, I have always had an interest in exterior design. Fast forward several years and my interest for the industry grew so much that I started Fairlawn Medina Landscape Supply to work alongside my father’s company.

What are your plans for the future?

I plan on extending my business and opening a third location in the next three years. My 10-year plan consists of opening a nursery and selling plants wholesale and retail. I would also like to open a flower/homemade chocolate shop at some point but not anytime soon. I have a lot of plans for my future and slowing down is definitely not one of them.

Are there challenges to being a female business owner?

There are many challenges being a female business. I don’t receive much respect simply because I am a woman. I have had customers take one look at me and ask to speak to a man. I think women are viewed as not being as smart and responsible as men. Unfortunately, there aren’t many advantages to being a female business owner. I constantly have men making comments about my appearance or asking me out when they are much older than I am, which is very uncomfortable, at times.

What advice would you give to women who want to start their own business?

This sounds cliché, but, honestly, never give up. It’s so true. I’ve come to learn that those who are jealous of your success will do whatever they can to put you down. Being a female business owner means having patience with customers AND employees. A female tends to be looked at as bossy, whereas a male tends to just be looked at as a boss – not many people like to be told what to do by a woman. My father always told me, “You have to work hard to play hard,” and he’s right. Make your dreams into goals and don’t stop until you reach them.